Governmental, societal and business concerns are driving requirements in countries around the world for improved tracking, management and service of commercial vehicles. The People’s Republic of China, for instance, recently mandated the use of standard global positioning devices in commercial vehicles, including sightseeing buses, passenger vehicles over class three, road transport vehicles for dangerous goods and heavy cargo, and semi-trailer towing vehicles.
The question for any business interested in IoT fleet management is how to connect vehicle sensors and electronics subsystems for an entire fleet to the existing Internet infrastructure. One answer comes from a commercial IoT vehicle solution developed by Intel and TransWiseway*, a telematics solution
and service provider in China. The solution uses Intel® processor-based platforms for the vehicle terminal hardware and for the cloud-based platforms that perform the necessary big data analysis for this end-to-end solution.
Fleet managers implementing this solution can achieve:
- Greater efficiency through fuel-saving advice based on driving distance, road conditions, and driving patterns. The system can also eliminate costly delays by issuing alerts when roads are congested, blocked, under construction, or have width and height restrictions.
- Improved safety through remote vehicle diagnostics and driver safety solutions can spot and issue alerts for driver drowsiness, vehicle theft, accidents, natural disasters, route changes, towing, repair, refueling, and tire condition.
- Higher reliability through a vehicle sensor tracking system that supports predictive maintenance, issuing notifications of imminent mechanical issues based on real-time data.
- Enhanced driving experiences through user access to information such as weather conditions, gasoline stations, rest stops, hotels, restaurants, and parking lots.
- Regulatory compliance through real-time vehicle tracking and load monitoring, as well as comprehensive documentation of any incidents that occur.
The TransWiseway solution has three main architectural layers: sensing, communications, and service (Figure 1). Here’s what each layer does:
- Sensing Layer. In-vehicle sensors send data to a vehicle terminal which collects, stores, processes, and reports information. This terminal responds to commands from supervisory platforms. The vehicle terminal consists of a microprocessor, GPS module, data storage, vehicle condition collection module, wireless communication transmission module, real-time clock, and data communication interfaces. It can drive peripherals like displays, printers, and card readers (for payment systems on mass transit). Video processing capabilities enable the terminal to perform as part of an IVI system capable of satisfying demands from governments and enterprises for video monitoring of both vehicle and driver.
- Communications Layer. This layer supports real-time, secure, and reliable transmissions from the vehicle terminal to the service layer across different networks and technologies, such as IP, 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, wired and private networks, and optical fiber.
- Service Layer. This layer’s cloud-based, back-end platform runs advanced data analytics applications and supports vehicle services. Services include collision notification, roadside and emergency rescue management, remote diagnosis, positioning monitoring, and data for vehicle insurance compliance tracking and claims. OEMs may add additional vehicle networking solutions, services, and operations. In addition, the solution supports vehicle mounted-information services that combine mature products such as advanced navigation, Internet services, multimedia services, and information sharing (e.g., social networks) with in-vehicle networking. The vehicle terminals connect to drivers’ smart phones, smart screens, or a combination of multiple screens, providing diversified vehicle information services.
Figure 1. TransWiseway system architecture.
Vehicle Terminal Hardware and Software
The vehicle terminal solution is based on proven Intel® IoT Gateway designs that provide application-ready platforms with pre-validated, industry-leading software. For example, TransWiseway added to its selected gateway an application framework layer that provides a collection of system services, including an activity manager, content provider, resource manager, and notification manager.
The solution includes two dedicated data service modules. One is a vehicle data service that reads vehicle-infotainment-specific data (e.g., speed, mileage, fuel consumption, etc.) from the vehicle bus control board and manages it for the applications. This module includes an event data recorder. The other module is an audio/video data service that imports, manages, and controls the video streams from the vehicle’s surveillance and driver assistance system cameras.
Obviously, all these tasks demand a lot of a gateway. That’s why the TransWiseway solution uses Intel IoT Gateways based on the Intel® Atom™ processor E3845. This processor features an integrated hardware video accelerator that can provide full high definition (HD), multi-channel video processing and transcoding. The processor’s high performance quad- core system-on-chip (SoC) architecture enables it to multitask core functions and accelerate critical tasks such as blind spot detection. Other highlights of this processor include high I/O connectivity, integrated memory controller, virtualization, Error Correcting Code (ECC), and built-in security capabilities within a thermal design power (TDP) of just 10W. The processor can support two displays and features an industrial temperature range (-40° to 110° C) designed to handle life on the road.
Intel® IoT Gateway Example
The VTC 6210 In-vehicle IoT Gateway from NEXCOM is a good example of a rugged, fanless Intel IoT Gateway design using this processor (Figure 2).It provides communication capabilities between vehicle and computer with a built-in CAN BUS 2.0B interface and optional OBDII interface (J1939/J1908) for vehicle diagnostics. The VTC 6210 features rich PAN, WLAN and WWAN wireless connectivity. Support for three SIM cards and dual WWAN modules architecture boosts bandwidth for faster data transmission speeds. In addition, the VTC 6210 enables two-way voice communication.
Integrating a variety of I/O ports and 4x Mini-PCIe sockets expansibility, the VTC 6210 delivers the flexibility to meet the demand for telematics applications such as infotainment, fleet management, dispatching, and video surveillance. Equipped with intelligent power management, the VTC 6210 can wake on ignition, RTC timer, or SMS message remotely.
Figure 2. NEXCOM VTC 6210 In-vehicle IoT Gateway.
Cloud-based Platform Technology
TransWiseway’s commercial vehicles solution also employs a high performance cloud platform designed to acquire data from hundreds of thousands of vehicle terminals in real time, analyze it, and process it (Figure 3). The platform delivers key information promptly and accurately to users, operations and maintenance personnel, and supervisory authorities. The solution satisfies these requirements through a highly-dense data center containing servers based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family. These processors deliver exceptional performance in virtualized environments to support the access and data processing requirements of very large numbers of vehicle terminals and users.
Figure 3. Cloud platform.
The IoT-based fleet management solution developed by Intel and TransWiseway enables business to improve the efficiency, safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance of commercial vehicle fleets. To learn more about this powerful solution, download this Solution Blueprint. To view more Intel IoT Gateway designs from members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, visit the ecosystem’s Solution Directory.
Contact featured member:
Solutions in this blog:
NEXCOM is an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance
Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine